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Cablegate: Imposters Continue to Exploit U.S. Refugee Travel

VZCZCXRO0332
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1780 2061222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251222Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5846
INFO RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH 0901
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0769
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 0095

UNCLAS DAKAR 001780

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR CA/FPP
DEPT PLS PASS TO KCC
PARIS FOR DHS/ICE
ECOWAS POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS KFRD CPAS CMGT ASEC KSTC SG
SUBJECT: IMPOSTERS CONTINUE TO EXPLOIT U.S. REFUGEE TRAVEL
DOCUMENTS

REF: DAKAR 00403

SUMMARY
-------
1. (SBU) Per reftel, airlines in Dakar continue to see
genuine Refugee Travel Documents (I-571) issued to
imposters. In the past three months, Senegalese
immigration officials seized five Refugee Travel Documents
from travelers denied boarding by South African Airways
(SAA) because they appeared to have never lived in the
U.S. A review of USCIS records indicate that the
travelers, whose photos appear in the genuine Refugee
Travel Documents, are not the persons granted asylum in
the U.S. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) South African Airlines (SAA) has sought
assistance from post regarding screening passengers who
present Refugee Travel Documents (I-571) to board direct
flights from Dakar to the U.S. According to SAA,
approximately eight passengers per flight (there are 14
direct flights per week to the U.S.) currently present
Refugee Travel Documents. SAA personnel deny boarding and
refer approximately 50 percent of these passengers to
Senegalese immigration officials because of suspicions
that the travelers have never been to the U.S.
Unfortunately, Senegalese immigration officials rarely
seize the travelers' documents.

3. (SBU) Despite their reluctance to seize documents,
Senegalese immigration authorities recently provided the
Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) with five Refugee Travel
Documents taken from travelers denied boarding by SAA.
The FPU, with the help of the DHS Forensic Laboratory,
confirmed that all five Refugee Travel Documents were
issued in the name of genuine refugees, but with
photographs of imposters. Post already sent three of
these documents to USCIS Accra; the last two will be
forwarded to the USCIS Office of Fraud Detection.

4. (SBU) As a result of our feedback, SAA implemented a
more vigorous pre-screening process and are seeing fewer
travelers with Refugee Travel Documents. They reported
that these travelers have started flying Royal Air Maroc
(RAM), an airline known to have less stringent pre-
screening requirements because it does not fly directly to
the U.S. from Dakar.

COMMENT
-------
5. (SBU) Genuine Refugee Travel Documents issued to
imposters present difficulties for airline pre-screeners
since the only way to identify the imposters is through
extensive interviews of the travelers. While the FPU can
confirm identity easily through the DHS Forensic
Laboratory, flights from Dakar depart in the middle of the
night when airlines cannot contact the FPU to quickly
confirm the identity of passengers. Also, given the
reluctance of Senegalese immigration authorities to seize
suspect documents, travelers denied boarding by SAA can
simply try other airlines until they successfully board.

JACOBS

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